A geomagnetic storm triggered by a large burst of radiation from the sun has disabled at least 40 of the 49 satellites newly launched by SpaceX as part of its Starlink internet communications network.
The company said in a statement on Tuesday. Harvard-Smithsonian astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell said, the incident was believed to mark the largest collective loss of satellites stemming from a single geomagnetic event, and was unique in the way it unfolded.
The company’s announcement, posted on its website on Tuesday, said the satellites were stricken on 4th of February, last Friday, a day after they were launched to a preliminary low-deployment” orbit about 210 km above Earth.
SpaceX said, it routinely deploys its satellites to such low orbits at first so they can quickly and safely be allowed to fall back toward Earth and incinerate on re-entry if a malfunction is detected during initial system checkouts.